European Commission Approves Bulgaria's 2014-2020 Regional Aid Map

European Commission Approves Bulgaria's 2014-2020 Regional Aid Map

The European Commission said it has approved Bulgaria's map for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020.

The guidelines, which aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the single market, set out the conditions under which member states can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes, the Commission said in a statement.

Under Bulgaria's regional aid map, to be in force from July 1 until December 31, 2020, the entire territory of Bulgaria will be eligible for regional aid under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that allows member states to grant aid in areas with a standard of living below EU average or high unemployment.

The map defines the maximum aid intensities for large companies carrying out projects in Bulgaria at 50% of the total investment cost in five of Bulgaria's regions and at 25% in the Yugozapaden region.

The proposed maximum aid intensity is for projects with eligible expenditure below 50 million euro ($68.1 million). These percentages can be increased by 20 percentage points for investments carried out by small and 10 percentage points by medium sized enterprises.

According to the statement, five regions in Bulgaria have a gross domestic product per capita lower than 45% of the EU average and one - the Yugozapaden region - between 60% and 75% of the EU average. Under the regional aid guidelines 2014-20, areas with a GDP per capita below 75% of the EU average are eligible in priority for regional investment aid, as the main purpose of regional aid is to foster the development of the less advantaged regions of Europe.

In comparison to the previous map, the overall aid intensity remains the same - 50%, for all Bulgarian regions except for the Yugozapaden region where it drops to 25%, in line with the guidelines' principle to prioritise providing support to the most disadvantaged regions. The population coverage remains the same.

“Bulgaria´s new regional aid map allows the Bulgarian authorities to promote investment throughout the country and further economic growth and cohesion in the Single Market," Joaquin Almunia, Commission vice president in charge of competition policy, said.

"It also provides a basis for an easier and targeted use of regional development programmes co-financed by the European Structural Funds,” he added.

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